Catalan Review

URBAN LANDSCAPE, GLOBAL CAPITAL, AND HUMAN SCALE IN SERGI BELBEL’S DESPRÉS DE LA PLUJA

Catalan Review (2016), 30, (1), 345–367.

Abstract

Sergi Belbel’s Després de la pluja is a thought-provoking reflection on power and its relation to space. As the characters wonder aloud about the historical emergence of Barcelona’s hyper-technological cityscape, the spectators reflect on the economico-political forces that are shaping Barcelona’s architecture and cultural identity. Between one burst of laughter and another, the audience begins to wonder which and whose visions for the city these high-rise buildings actually house, and what relations these visions maintain with the flesh and blood urban dwellers’ micro-stories narrating social relations, childbearing, dreams, phobias. While revealing the unsettling mechanics governing economic and interpersonal exchange, the cruelty of role-playing in a corporate model, and the ways in which global frameworks resignify our relation to place-making, and to the culture and politics of scale-making, the play also attempts to recreate the social fabric based on less utilitarian criteria, or to reconnect the space of flows, where economy and power are organized, with the space of places, that of the lifeworld. Després de la pluja reinserts “capital” into the center of the analysis, and as comedy it allows a theoretically attuned insight into private lives and private space at a notable juncture in Barcelona’s history.

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COMPARONE, LOREDANA